Pete Carter is the author of the children's book, Our Dog Benji (EK Books), a tale inspired by his family pet and written for fussy eaters everywhere. His first book for adults, This is Us - New Zealanders in our own words (Exisle Publishing) has just come out and has received rave coverage in the New Zealand Herald.
In this interview, Pete speaks about his experience as an author and gives some advice for new writers. Enjoy!
What Drove You to Write Your First Book?
Our Dog Benji started life as a poem I put in a poetry and prose book I self-published called It's Your Dad. Several people said to me that it would make a good children’s book. My nephew was doing graphics at university at the time and I commissioned him to illustrate, I know now that publishers prefer to choose their own illustrators. But I think our collaboration worked really well. I sent it out to 3 publishers and in the end two publishers wanted to do it and I went with EK.
What Part About Becoming a Published Author Has Surprised You?
How bloody long the process takes. From woe to go, This Is Us will be 15 months after first conversations about it - which I understand is quick.
What Did You Wish You Knew Before You Got Your First Book Published?
I suppose the time taken as above. Also I know now that you can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen, you’ve really got to get behind your books. I was too reticent with Benji, with This Is Us I’m really working as hard as I can, mainly for the book but also for what comes next. Writing is what I’d like to do for the rest of my working life so I need to get behind the books as they come out.
What Is the Most Satisfying Thing About Being a Published Author?
Seeing the book in bookshops. Having people tell me they’ve read them and enjoyed them.
What Advice Do You Have for Any Aspiring Authors Out There?
I’m really pleased I self-published two books. It got me off the mark so to speak, of course I didn’t make any money from them but because I printed only 300 copies of each I was able to get them out and about and I felt like a writer, I probably did recoup the printing costs. Secondly, don’t give up your day job, I have a little business that I can run alongside my writing – if I didn’t I’d be a lot thinner.